Nebraska has officially made the decision to move on from Scott Frost. Fans knew Frost had to deliver this year but he started the season with losses to Illinois and Georgia Southern. Frost has not been able to improve and has continued to lose close games. Players need to execute but the coach’s job is to prepare them for the moments. Nebraska will likely be looking for a proven coach when they begin their search. The Cornhuskers will need a coach who can take the reigns and bring Nebraska back to relevancy. We have a few candidates in mind who Nebraska may consider.
Lance Leipold (Kansas Head Coach) – Kansas is one of the toughest jobs in the country so if someone can succeed in Lawrence they have a good chance at success elsewhere. Leipold is off to a 2-0 start at Kansas after defeating West Virginia this past weekend. Leipold also helped Buffalo win the MAC East twice in 2018 and 2020. Before coaching at Buffalo, Leipold was the head coach at Wisconsin-Whitewater, a division three program. He won six division three national titles in eight seasons as their head coach. Would Nebraska consider approaching Leipold even if he does not make a bowl game this fall?
Matt Campbell (Iowa State Head Coach) – Matt Campbell will continued to be rumored as a candidate for other jobs as long as he is at Iowa State. Iowa State is historically one of the worst programs in college football history. Campbell has helped Iowa State gain a level of respect many did not think was possible. Iowa State has a winning record in five of Campbell’s six seasons as the head coach. The Detroit Lions tried to persuade Campbell to leave Iowa State but failed. Iowa State had a much lower ceiling than most programs in the Big 12. Could Nebraska convince Campbell to leave Ames?
Jim Leonhard (Wisconsin Defensive Coordinator) – Jim Leonhard is destined to be a head coach sometime in the near future. Leonhard is only 39 years old and has been viewed as one of the up and coming coordinators in college football. He has been the defensive coordinator for Wisconsin since 2017. The Badgers defense allowed only 16.2 points per game last season which ranked fourth in the country. Frost was considered an offensive mastermind so the administration could look for a defensive minded coach. Leonhard’s experience in the Big Ten could also be a selling point for Nebraska.
Luke Fickell (Cincinnati Head Coach) – Luke Fickell is unlikely to leave Cincinnati but Nebraska should still make the phone call. Fickell helped Cincinnati reach the College Football Playoffs last season. The Bearcats have become a consistent force in the AAC since Fickell took over. Cincinnati is heading to the Big 12 in 2023 which means Fickell will be unlikely to leave. While there is little doubt Fickell would have success in Lincoln, he has never coached outside the state of Ohio. Fickell has received interest from large programs but has never seriously entertained other programs.
Kevin Wilson (Ohio State Offensive Coordinator) – Kevin Wilson is another offensive minded candidate who Nebraska might consider. He has been the offensive coordinator for Ohio State since 2017. Wilson resigned from Indiana after the school investigated the treatment of two injured players. Wilson had Indiana trending in the right direction before his resignation. He has been a candidate for head coaching jobs over the past few seasons meaning he might be interested in becoming a head coach once again. Nebraska would be to sure to do their due diligence on Wilson before offering him the job.
Bill O’Brien (Alabama Offensive Coordinator) – Bill O’Brien has been been rumored for numerous head coaching jobs and Nebraska might be a good fit for him. O’Brien coached at Penn State in 2012 and 2013 before becoming the head coach of the Houston Texans. He became the offensive coordinator for Alabama before the 2021 season. Last year O’Brien helped Bryce Young win the Heisman trophy and Jameson Williams become a finalist for the Biletnikoff award. Alabama fans have been critical of O’Brien’s play calling. Nebraska would be going with a safe option if they chose O’Brien.
Urban Meyer (Retired Head Coach) – First, I do not believe Nebraska should even consider Urban Meyer. Trouble has followed Meyer over his last three head coaching jobs. He was fired after just 13 games as an NFL head coach. Would Meyer turn Nebraska into a winning program? Almost certainly. Would he leave after four or five seasons with a black cloud over the program? Absolutely. Nebraska would need to make a decision if hiring Meyer would be worth the inevitable conflicts.
Mickey Joseph (Nebraska Interim Head Coach) – Mickey Joseph was named the interim head coach after Scott Frost was fired. Joseph is in his first season at Nebraska after spending the previous five seasons at LSU. He has become known as one of the best wide receiver coaches after developing Ja’Marr Chase, Justin Jefferson and Terrance Marshall. Joseph was previously the head coach for the Langston Lions, a NAIA program. He finished 13-7 across two seasons. Joseph will have a chance to take the job. How well does Nebraska need to preform in order for him keep the job in a permanent capacity?
Jeff Lebby (Oklahoma Offensive Coordinator) – Jeff Lebby is one of the best offensive masterminds in college football. He coached under Frost at UCF which could be a major deterrent. Lebby spent the last two seasons under Lane Kiffin at Ole Miss. The Rebels had one of the best offenses led by Matt Corral. Lebby will oversee the Oklahoma offense and try to replace the offensive expectations left by Lincoln Riley.
Matt Rhule (Carolina Panthers Head Coach) – Matt Rhule is currently on the hot seat after failing to find success in the NFL. A return to college may be in the cards for Rhule after finding success at Baylor and Temple. Rhule helped Temple win 10 games in consecutive seasons. He oversaw the turnaround of the Baylor program around after winning just one game in his first season. Rhule led Baylor to 11 wins in his third season before departing for the NFL. Should Rhule decide to give college another try, would he be interested in moving to Lincoln?
Others possibly considered: Tom Herman (Former Texas Head Coach), Gary Patterson (Former TCU Head Coach), Sean Lewis (Kent State Head Coach), Chris Klieman (Kansas State Head Coach), Charles Huff (Marshall Head Coach), Deion Sanders (Jackson State Head Coach)